Smooth and slow strokes, Bridge. Smoooooooth and sloooooooow. When you jump into the pool and panic, your lungs go ‘CCCCRRRRRRKKKK’ and you can’t breath! The dog paddling takes you forever to get where you’re going. If you can relax, go smooth and slow, you actually get there quicker!
So as soon as we got home I was freaking out. Okay, truthfully I started freaking out in a little square in Barcelona over tapas. Realizing the postcards had not/would not get written let alone sent before we headed out. The weight of preparing to go Stateside descended. Visions of the mountains of laundry dominating my thoughts. “Four weeks away from Scotty” blinking like an obnoxious neon sign in my not-so-subconscious. So I did what any normal person would do—I started dog paddling like mad.
Me: Good one! Did you notice that? You got there so much quicker that time!
B: Yeah, cause I started to dog paddle and I just thought, ‘Relax! Slow and smooth, slow and smooth, slow and smooth.’
I did laundry all day. Load after load. One right after the other. Tying up loose ends on the computer. Once in a while trying to escape into the world of facebook and then beating myself up for it. I vacuumed. I straightened. I was a tight, angry ball.
I went to see my osteopath for an adjustment. He said my body was really tired. He asked me if I noticed that I was flinching every time he moved my muscles. Said it seemed like, “Mum’s not taking good care of herself.” He was right and I felt my shoulders lifted in a tight ‘shrug’ like I was bracing myself for something.
I fought with Scott. I told him the weight of the world was on my shoulders. We made a list of what specifically I did feel was on my shoulders, and I was astounded and embarrassed and frustrated with myself—somehow I really had taken the weight of the world on my shoulders. The number and magnitude of the things I was carrying? Goodness. It’s a wonder I could stand up.
We manage to get everything but the socks and underwear packed before bed but still the next morning I was exhausted. Angry. Sad.
B: Mom, I’m going to swim all the way to the other side this time! I can do it!
Halfway over he stops and panics and swims to where I am standing. Spluttering for just a second. Then he says: “I just needed a little break!” as he heads to the other side.
We wake up to little boys snuggling in our bed. Scott sends them to play and holds me tight. I am tight. Distant. He persists. He makes gently makes me look him in the eye. He smoothes out the furrows between my eyebrows with his fingers. I splutter. I move my arms and legs fast. I’m getting nowhere. He holds tighter. He nuzzles me and hugs me. I try smooth. I embrace slow. We make love and all of the sudden I can breath.
I come downstairs and we listen to the Valentines 2009 mix. I cry. I’m going to miss him so much. It occurs to me how blessed I am to feel that way and how much hard work and perseverance got us to that place.
B: I did it! Smooth and slow just like you said! Did you see me?!?! I got ALL THE WAY to the other side! I am awesome!
We quick get dressed and head into the city. There’s nearly a hiccup—several lines of the tube aren’t running. And we flounder around. I find myself spluttering. Then I relax. Smooth. Slow. We go outside. We grin at each other. “Want to figure out how to ride the bus in this city?” It’s great fun. Orienting. Out in the open. We can breath.
We have an old school Children’s Book Store date. Bridger and Caid are excellent additions to the ritual. We visit Borough Market—my favorite London place. We eat yummy treats and walk around in the scads of people. We go home and play baseball. We read Winnie the Pooh. We pack. We go to bed late.
The next morning on the way to the airport Scott says, “I think you’re going to need to get up every morning and decide not to carry anything that is not yours. There will be plenty to pick up. You go three days of picking stuff up and you’re going to be a wreck.”
Smooth and slow. If you can just relax…you actually get there quicker.